Non-Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

by Bhavi Bhudia
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EPC

The Non-Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) were introduced on 1 April 2018,

and they require landlords or property owners to ensure that their non-domestic properties meet a minimum level of energy efficiency. The aim of the legislation is to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption in commercial buildings, making them more cost-effective and environmentally sustainable. 

The implementation of the MEES regulations has been phased in gradually since April 2018. However, as of 1 April 2023, the regulations were tightened, and the minimum requirement will rise from E to D on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) scale. 

What are the MEES Regulations?

The MEES regulations were introduced as part of the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. The regulations affect all commercial properties in England and Wales which are rented or leased out. From 1 April 2018, all new tenancies, renewals, and extensions must have an EPC rating of E or above.

From 1 April 2023, the regulations were extended to include all existing tenancies, and the minimum EPC rating required will increase from E to D. In practical terms, this means that any non-domestic property with an EPC rating of F or G will become illegal to rent out or lease from 1 April 2023.

Why are the MEES Regulations Important?

The MEES regulations are an important tool in reducing carbon emissions and encouraging energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings. Energy-efficient buildings are not only economically beneficial, but they also have a positive impact on the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Research has shown that the MEES regulations can help to reduce energy consumption in non-domestic buildings by up to 80%, with substantial savings in energy costs for businesses. The regulations also encourage landlords and property owners to invest in energy-efficient measures such as insulation, double-glazing, and low-energy lighting.

The Changes That Were Required by 1 April 2023

From 1 April 2023, the MEES regulations were extended to include all existing tenancies. The legislation will require the following changes:

1. Minimum EPC Rating

All non-domestic properties must have an EPC rating of at least D. Currently, the minimum requirement is E.

2. Enforcement

The enforcement of the MEES regulations will be extended to cover all existing tenancies. Landlords or property owners who fail to comply with the regulations may face substantial fines, and it will become illegal to rent out or lease a property with an EPC rating of F or G.

3. Exemptions

There are some exemptions to the MEES regulations, including properties that are listed buildings or buildings which have a low energy demand. However, any exemption must be registered and demonstrate compliance with the regulations.

4. Cost Cap

The cost of implementing energy efficiency measures must be below £3,500 (inclusive of VAT) per property.

5. Third-Party Funding

Landlords or property owners may be able to access third-party funding to implement energy efficiency measures, and in many cases, the improvements may pay for themselves through reduced energy bills.

How to Ensure Compliance

Landlords and property owners can ensure compliance with the MEES regulations by:

1. Check the EPC Rating

The EPC rating for your property can be found on the EPC register. Check the rating and determine if your property meets the minimum requirement.

2. Implement Energy Efficiency Measures

If your property does not meet the minimum requirement, you will need to implement energy efficiency measures to improve the EPC rating. Consider installing insulation, double-glazing, low-energy lighting, and improving the heating system.

3. Obtain Third-Party Funding

If the cost of implementing energy efficiency measures is a concern, consider accessing third-party funding. The Energy Savings Trust and Local Authorities offer various schemes to help fund energy efficiency measures.

4. Register Any Exemptions

If you believe your property is exempt from the MEES regulations, it is essential to register any exemption with the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register.

5. Seek Professional Advice

It may be beneficial to seek professional advice to ensure you meet the minimum energy efficiency standards. Chartered Surveyors or Property Management Companies can provide advice on the best energy-efficient measures for your property.

Conclusion

The MEES regulations are an essential tool in reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings. From 1 April 2023, the regulations became more stringent, and it will become illegal to rent out or lease a property with an EPC rating of F or G.

Landlords and property owners must take the necessary action to ensure compliance with the regulations. By implementing energy-efficient measures and accessing third-party funding, businesses can significantly reduce energy costs and promote sustainability.